By Jim Olsen
It’s a life filled with His compassion, kindness and gentleness. A life filled with the love of God, but when you get down to it, it wasn’t really your decision alone: Jesus revealed himself to you and you said ‘Yes!” Let’s take the time to understand our position in the Kingdom of God: We have been selected by God, because he loved us and foreknew us. We are secure and sit in a favored position. All of life is for God’s glory.
Let’s begin by linking together the idea we were selected by God with the idea that God has clothing for us to wear. They are both rooted in the same principle: Both are given by God and cannot be attained by human effort. God’s clothing, his fruit, of love, joy, peace, compassion, and kindness are not something we have to work for, but rather something we wear. We wear his clothing, his holy attributes, the same way we receive our salvation: By faith, by saying ‘yes’ to him.
This session’s key verse brings together those two ideas: Selection and clothing. In Col 3:12, Paul states that believers are the “elect of God”. The Greek word here is eklektos. It means ‘selected or favorite.’ This truth will stand out through all eternity: God has chosen you. You merely accepted the gift of salvation revealed to you. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth of the Gospel to you and you accepted it; God opened up your heart and mind. In the same way, God has provided his attributes as clothing to put on; clothing that is received by faith.
Col 3:12 “Therefore, as the elect (eklektos) of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
It’s very important to understand that God has chosen and selected you because he cares that much about you. He makes you his own beloved one and declares you as forgiven and holy; he loves you that much. Once you hear his call, his tender voice, you’ll see that his power actually can wipe away every blemish, every stain and give you the forgiveness that no one else can provide. That’s because the Lord is our maker, he knows how to make us pure. The key to it is to surrender… relax… cast your cares on him… spend more time with him in prayer and worship.
So, to understand how God clothes us, let’s investigate our election in Christ. From when you first accepted Jesus until the day you die, this should be your desire: I want to be a better person. I want to know and please God. It’s important to realize that Christ’s nature, his fruit, is found at the time he calls you, the day you gave your life to Christ. He calls you to himself in order to bear fruit. In the following verse, Jesus uses the verb form of the Greek word for chosen, eklegomai.
John 15:16 “You did not choose (eklegomai) Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 17 This is My command to you: Love one another.”
Who does Jesus choose? The answer lies in his all-knowing wisdom. “The LORD does not see as man does. For man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7). People are drawn to God when they realize his true nature; that he is a loving, caring God, ready and able to save. That’s not to say that some are driven to him out of fear; God does use life-altering events to bring people to himself. But everyone who sees Jesus as he is sees a gloriously loving, tender, patient and loving God, far more loving than any person who ever lived. Consider this verse; it states that the Kingdom of God works opposite the way of the world. Paul states that God picks foolish, weak, lowly and despised people. In other words, God selects those who see the truth about themselves; people who need a savior.
1 Cor 1:26 “Brothers, consider the time of your calling: Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose (eklegomai) the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose (eklegomai) the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose (eklegomai) the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast in His presence.”
Isn’t it reassuring to know that you were selected by God? That assurance that God loves us will not change, even in the end times. Consider Jesus’ words about his second coming: “But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened.” He’s saying that because he loves his elect so much, even in the time of the most severe judgement ever pronounced on the earth, he will cut the time short, allowing his beloved to be kept safe.
Matt 24:21 ”For at that time there will be great tribulation (thlipsis), unmatched from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be seen again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, nobody would be saved. But for the sake of the elect (eklektos), those days will be shortened. “
If it looks like God will take specific care of his people, you are correct. There are a wide variety of end time teachings, many emphasizing the fear and terror of this time. No doubt, the end times will have great tribulation. The Greek word is thlipsis, which means ‘pressure,’ translated as trouble, anguish, tribulation and affliction. In the middle of all this misery, God has an assurance for the ones he’s selected: You will be gathered from all the ends of the earth to be with Jesus forever. As of this writing, we are almost at the end of a three month lockdown because of the coronavirus. For America, this is a tiny foretaste of the trouble coming. It may happen tomorrow or in generations to come, but Jesus will come again for his chosen.
Matt 24:30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect (eklektos) from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
To sum it up, you are precious in God’s sight. Just like Jesus is a precious chosen living stone, we, also, are precious chosen stones being built up into a spiritual house. You are ‘acceptable,’ the Greek word euprosdektos, meaning pleasing, well-received. It’s high time to deal with any prideful thoughts, thinking that salvation was your choice alone. No, behind it all is a God who chooses to reveal his nature and ways to mankind. You are precious and chosen by our God and you’ll never have to be ashamed again.
1 Pet 2:4 “As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men but chosen (eklegomai) and precious in God’s sight, 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable (euprosdektos) to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “See, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”
Definitions are from InHisVerse Bible (IHV) - www.InHisVerse.com.
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Bible Quotations From: The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB (BereanBible.com). Copyright ©2016, 2019 by Bible Hub. Unless Otherwise Noted.